'Julians' Bury during renovation. Courtesy P Walker. Modern History of 'Julians'
”Julians”, Owls End, Bury
In 1966 the house now known as ”Julians” was in a very dilapidated state – and in fact St Ives Rural District Council had determined that it was ”unfit for human habitation”.
The ”garden” had nothing apart from the oak tree at the bottom corner, one very old and useless apple tree and loads of nettles and brickbats!
For many years it had been occupied as 2 cottages, but was in fact a single house, with doors downstairs and upstairs merely nailed up between the two parts. The left hand end as you look at the house from the road was the smaller part and had beenunoccupied for some years before the property was put up for sale by auction in the Summer of1966 – which took place when the right hand end became vacant.
In spite of the condition of the property I felt that it had great potential and that it was in a delightful situation, being at that time surrounded by open fields, with no other houses nearby and a lovely view of Bury Church and Manor House .
……… SO…….. I managed to buy it at auction ( for £1500 ) and with the aid of a local architect Arthur Mull we embarked on preparing plans for renovating the house ( but altering it as little as possible ), obtaining Planning Approval and confirmation from St Ives RDC that it could be occupied again once the work had been carried out. This took some little time and the renovation work began in January 1967 – and was finished in December that year, a grand job being done by Swearers the builders.
The property had two staircases, but the one in the right hand part of the house was very steep and narrow – and also blocked the way into what became the kitchen – so it was removed and an entirely new staircase was built in the middle of the house, together with a ”landing” upstairs ( to avoid the middle bedroom continuing to be a
”through” room ).
The house has 3 ”inglenook” fireplaces, but when I bought it 2 of them were completely blocked up – and the one in the present kitchen turned out to have 4 distinct fireplaces, each of increasing size, before we arrived at the original beam/bressumer above it all.
When a new window was cut upstairs at the front of the house it involved the removal of the Sun Insurance Firemark which had been on the wall of the house, covered with Snowcem. When it had been cleaned and its number revealed, I wrote to Sun Alliance and within a week they sent me a copy of the policy issued in 1788 to ”John Julian, Yeoman Farmer” – which is the reason I called the house ”Julians”. The same policy also covered ”Wheat barn, Great Barn and Hogsties, all also thatched” – and I know that John Julian must have been a farmer in quite a big way, as years ago I saw a map which showed that he owned pretty well all the land in and a round Bury.
Whilst the earliest definite date for the house is 1788, it is pretty certain that it is much older, with its timber frame ( not visible outside) and the rafters under the thatch which are tree branches.